Search is not the address bar
By Murray Bourne, 02 Feb 2006
I've noticed that a lot of users come to my sites via either Google or Yahoo!, having typed in something like "http://www.intmath.com/" into the search engine. Why don't they just type it into the address bar of the browser and go directly to the site?
The phenomenon is widespread. Across several different search engines, the top search terms are:
1 206341 google 2 185171 paris hilton 3 164692 poetry 4 156353 ebay 5 154602 yahoo 6 128164 games cheat 7 125597 girls 8 117455 jessica simpson 9 115399 dogs 10 111111 carmen electra 11 104366 jenna jameson 12 103345 pamela anderson 13 102124 games 14 98602 radio stations 15 95691 eminem
So instead of typing "google.com" into their address bar, they are typing "google" into a Google (or other) search box, they are waiting for a search results page to appear with a link to "www.google.com" at the top, then they click on it. Hmmm...
But wait, there's more. If you look at the top 100 or so searches and combine the results for "google", "google.com", etc, the following pattern emerges:
1 283009 yahoo, yahoo.com, www,yahoo.com 2 282855 google, google.com, www.google.com 3 203709 ebay, ebay.com 4 185171 paris hilton 5 164692 poetry 6 136994 myspace, myspace.com 7 128164 games cheat 8 125597 girls 9 119593 hotmail, hotmail.com 10 117455 jessica simpson 11 115399 dogs 12 111111 carmen electra 13 104366 jenna jameson 14 103345 pamela anderson 15 102124 games
So Yahoo! is the winner, just.
It goes to show how important search has become when huge numbers of people are using a search engine to find a search engine. (I know some of the above stats are due to people actually looking for information about Yahoo!, Google, or eBay, but this does not explain the high number of searches for these terms).
Footnote 1: The source for the above information is an interesting story. I subscribe to The Wordtracker Report. This is a weekly review of the top 500 search terms used on several search engines. The report comes in 2 flavours - a "family" version (taking out the naughty words) and a "real" version. I have used the sanitised version for my lists above (this is a family site, after all). But why can't people face truths, even though they may be unpalatable at times?
Footnote 2: I am saying "Search is not the address bar", but conversely, search can be done in the address bar of Firefox. This is one of the many things I like about FF.
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